Winter crept into East Texas while we slept.
We were enjoying the lovely reds and oranges of autumn here at Providence RV Park, perfectly content with the brilliant sunshine and experiencing the final lazy days of the changing season. Leaves turned crunchy, and acorns began dropping throughout the woods. Migrating geese began winging their way to warmer destinations. Although everyone knows to winterize your RV once fall starts to make her retreat, sometimes in Texas that moment can arrive unexpectedly, unless your nose has been glued to the weather channel.
We had started October with a sweltering 91 degrees during the day and 72 at night. The last night of October, as we all slept, temps dropped to 27 degrees, and winter was officially on. Part of me sighs sadly. I bid goodbye to warm days and begin to batten down the hatches (both emotionally and physically), as we all get ready for the blustery winds of our east Texas winter.
But before we can settle in and cocoon our way through to next year with flickering propane fireplaces and cozy Sherpa fleece blankets, we need to make sure any RV prep work required is checked off our list. Some are veterans at this. The internet is filled with tricks and tips of the seasoned road warriors. Private blogs from the road as well as official RV associations and membership clubs like Passport America or Good Sam can be great resources.
Winterize Your RV
Providence RV Park is valued for its ability to offer full time occupancy when most other area RV parks are unable to do so. Because most are situated on Sabine River Authority regulated land, they are subject to many restrictions. The biggest is how many days per year you are permitted to occupy your RV. Providence counts both full and part time residents as part of our east Texas community, including many newbies to the RV lifestyle. Aging Baby Boomers looking to escape heavy mortgage payments and empty nests have made the hunt for prime, long term RV dwelling a hot one.
For those undergoing such a move, the very first winter can be a bit daunting, even for full time park residents. How long will my supply of propane last? What is a soft freeze vs. a hard freeze? How do I protect my pipes and keep the water flowing? For part timers, those who leave their rigs at the park and visit when they can find time to get away, winterizing is especially important, since Texas is notorious for its unpredictability. One of the strongest “blue northers” on record in North Texas was in November 1911, when temps dropped from a high of 85 degrees in downtown Fort Worth to 39 degrees later that day, then to 21 degrees the next day — a 64-degree drop in less than 48 hours!
Pipe Prep is Priority
But winter is nothing to fear. Just winterize your RV, take care of pets, set the thermostat and arm yourself with hot coffee in the morning and a nice marshmallow topped cocoa for an afternoon treat. For full-timers, the national weather report becomes a welcome friend. But Priority #1? Keeping your water hose protected. Some people use heat tape wound along the length, while others choose foam insulation for the hose. Many do both. Wrapping a towel around the spigot and placing a bucket over the towel is simple, but effective. For the sewer line, you might replace the slinky with hard PVC.
If you’re fortunate enough to have an RV arctic package, you won’t have much to do beyond protecting your city water connection. If not, a little after market insulation and/or a plywood piece or two placed under your RV can help a lot. Although your RV likely came with a couple small propane tanks, many full timers opt for trading up to one large one. This can minimize unhappy surprises. Like when you wake up, shivering, to see your breath and discover it’s 58 degrees in your RV. Of course, everyone’s heat requirements differ, and there are those who prefer the colder weather.
But what if you are not a card carrying member of the Polar Bear club? A couple strategically placed space heaters (the “tip over protection” type, of course), can keep propane usage down while putting your comfort level exactly where you want it. Foam based reflective inserts for skylights can cut the cold in winter and reflect heat in summer. Before winter kicks into high gear is also a good time to check various gas leak detectors since you’ll be spending a lot of time indoors.
Embrace the Changing Season
So don’t be afraid of the cold! Just get ready for it, and winterize your RV before temps drop low enough to do damage to pipes and fittings. Then relax, put on some great music, invite neighbors and family over for some 5-alarm chili, and spend the down time building up friendships and family ties.
Or take advantage of the stillness to draw deep from your own restorative well, and purge out the old deadwood habits of yesterday to get ready for the next season.
There’s nothing like a warm, cozy home in the woods – especially the piney woods here at Providence RV Park – to remind you why you escaped the commute driven rat race in the first place. So…prepare, relax, and enjoy the breathtaking beauty of God’s creation no matter the season, and know He made it just for you!